Impact of the Federal Government Shutdown on the NJ SNAP-Ed Program

From Larry S. Katz, Director, Rutgers Cooperative Extension

The New Jersey Food Stamp Program is also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). NJ SNAP-Ed consists of the SNAP-Ed Program and the SNAP-Ed Support Network (the Network). Both are headquartered in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. NJ SNAP-Ed is a Rutgers Cooperative Extension Program aimed at improving nutrition and increasing physical activity among SNAP eligible audiences. This is accomplished through the provision of evidenced-based nutrition education offered through numerous public-health approaches and community-based projects.

We have been directed by the Director of the NJ Department of Human Services, Division of Family Development, who coordinates the federal resources for the NJ SNAP-Ed program, that our contract will be impacted by the Federal Government shut down. We have been advised that only FFY'13 balances can be utilized during the duration of the shutdown. No FFY'14 funds are to be used. The balance of our carryover funds from FFY'13 necessitated our notifying the SNAP-Ed staff that temporary layoffs will commence at the end of business Monday, October 7, 2013.

When the government shutdown reverses we anticipate a full reinstatement of all staff. Of course, as of today no one knows when this reinstatement may occur. This painful layoff measure directly affects more than 60 staff members, primarily including our community assistants, who deliver the nutritional education programs to New Jersey families receiving SNAP benefits.

Sadly, the most vulnerable people among our Rutgers employees and the most vulnerable residents among our communities are most damaged by this Washington political deadlock.

Don't hesitate to contact me if you want more information on this.

Sincerely yours,
Larry Katz

  1. Rutgers
  2. Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  3. School of Environmental and Biological Sciences